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2/8 roundup

A handful of players and clubs avoided arbitration on Saturday, while the Dodgers added a pitcher on the same day their pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch in Arizona.

Los Angeles agreed to a one-year, $1.5-million contract, plus incentives, with left-hander Paul Maholm.

The official announcement came eight hours after Maholm appeared in the Dodgers clubhouse in Spring Training.

Other news and notes from Saturday:

AL East

  • Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is expected to meet with the media Tuesday in New York.
  • The Rays held a youth clinic on Saturday.

AL Central

  • The Indians won their arbitration case with reliever Vinnie Pestano. He’ll make make $975,000 this season.

AL West

NL East

  • Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, who had surgery last October, hopes to begin throwing this month.

NL Central

  • The Cubs and right-hander Jeff Samardzija agreed to a one-year, $5.345-million deal, avoiding arbitration.

NL West

  • Padres starter Andrew Cashner will make $2.4 million this season after winning his arbitration case.
  • Dodgers manager Don Mattingly discussed an array of topics, including outfielder Matt Kemp, on the first day of Spring Training.
  • Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley feels like he has a new arm.
  • Arizona players say they’re happy with the right-hander Bronson Arroyo, within this notebook.
  • Padres right-hander Josh Johnson says he received some positive feedback from a college coach, within this notebook.
  • The D-backs donated $700,000 to local youth and Little League ballplayers.

 

- Cash Kruth

2/5 roundup

It’s almost here.

Wednesday, the day before the D-backs are the first team to have pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, was relatively quiet.

A few Minor League deals were made as the Indians signed former All-Star first baseman Bryan LaHair to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The Nationals inked veteran catcher Koyie Hill to the same, as did the Dodgers with infielder Justin Turner.

The Braves and first baseman Freddie Freeman also officially announced their eight-year, $135-million deal.

“For them to believe in me with this kind of contract, it’s truly an honor and humbling,” Freeman said. “But having it this young, I never thought it would be possible or could imagine that.”

Freeman’s deal was announced on the 80th birthday of Braves Hall of Famer and legend Hank Aaron.

But there was some sad news on Wednesday, as former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling announced he has cancer.

Other news and notes from Wednesday:

AL East

  • Former pitcher and current YES Network analyst David Cone thinks highly of new Yankee right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
  • Within this Rays notebook is right-hander Jake Odorizzi’s take on stepping up for the injured Jeremy Hellickson.
  • Orioles reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions in her inbox.
  • Blue Jays reporter Gregor Chisholm does the same here.
  • Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra, along with radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione, will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

AL Central

  • Current Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe is focused on the now while also taking top prospect and fellow third baseman Miguel Sano under his wing.
  • Cleveland outfield prospects Clint Frazier and Tyler Naquin hope to live up to the hype.
  • Former Tiger Lance Parrish will manage in Detroit’s system at Double-A Erie.

AL West

  • A’s reporter Jane Lee answers questions in this inbox.
  • The Rangers sold their ballpark naming rights. They now play in Globe Life Park in Arlington.

NL East

  • Mets outfielder Chris Young has used the phone to get to know his new teammates.
  • Marlins reporter Joe Frisaro fields questions in this inbox.
  • Former Phillies Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs are among those who Comcast SportsNet could add to the booth.
  • The Braves unveiled military appreciation jerseys.

NL Central

  • Pirates center fielder and reigning NL Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen is entering his 10th season of pro ball.
  • Clint Hurdle isn’t satisfied despite helping the Pirates break their postseason drought.
  • Rinku Singh, the left-hander who won the “Million Dollar Arm” contest in 2008, is ready to showcase his stuff at Pirates’ Spring Training.
  • A number of former Cubs shared their memories of Wrigley Field, which turns 100 this year.

NL West

- Cash Kruth

1/15 Hot Stove roundup

Wednesday was a landmark day in Major League Baseball, as the Dodgers and left-hander Clayton Kershaw agreed to the largest contract in the game’s history for a pitcher, according to a baseball source.

The deal for Kershaw, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, is for seven years and $215 million with an opt-out clause after five years.

MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes the contract shows that, along with signing free agents and taking on big contracts via trades, the Dodgers also take care of their own.

In a sign that Spring Training and Opening Day is near, MLB released game times for the 2014 season.

Other news and notes from Wednesday:

AL East

  • The Red Sox reached a one-year deal with reliever Burke Badenhop.
  • The Orioles agreed to a contract with outfielder Tyler Colvin and also signed righty Alfredo Aceves to a Minor League deal.
  • MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.
  • Despite being indefinitely suspended, Rays prospect Josh Sale is grateful for Tampa Bay’s support.
  • Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez, MLB.com’s No. 9 right-handed pitching prospect, is taking things one step at a time as he tries to ascend to the Majors.

AL Central

  • Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu impressed on the first day of the White Sox hitters minicamp. Left-hander Chris Sale is ready to lead.
  • The Royals and right-hander Brad Penny reportedly agreed to a Minor League deal.
  • Minnesota’s Ryan Pressly will pitch in honor of his father, who died of cancer on Nov. 1.

AL West

  • Seattle and outfielder Michael Saunders agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • The Rangers did the same with reliever Neal Cotts.
  • Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker is prepping for a Major League rotation spot.
  • MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes that Derek Holland’s loss is a major setback for the Rangers.
  • The Astros are looking for a new Spring Training facility. Houston also announced its Minor League managers will remain the same.

NL East

  • Former manager Charlie Manuel is reportedly returning to the Phillies as a senior adviser to the general manager.
  • The Mets and shortstop Ruben Tejada agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • Philadelphia reliever Mike Adams might not be ready for Opening Day.
  • Braves reporter Mark Bowman answers fan questions in his inbox. Nationals reporter Bill Ladson does the same here.
  • Marlins prospect Nick Wittgren has closer potential.
  • The Nationals extended their contract with Double-A Harrisburg for four years.

NL Central

  • The Cubs signed Chris Coughlan to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
  • Milwaukee signed veteran lefty Zach Duke to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite. Brewers pitching prospect David Goforth is returning to the bullpen and could get his own spring invite.
  • The Pirates can’t overlook their hole at first base, writes MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
  • The Reds announced five more Spring Training invites, including Robert Stephenson — MLB.com’s seventh-best right-handed pitching prospect.
  • Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch answers questions in this inbox.
  • Cubs prospects are taking part in a week-long development program.

NL West

  • The D-backs and righty Josh Collmenter agreed to a two-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • The Rockies agreed to a one-year deal with lefty Franklin Morales to avoid arbitration.
  • Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, reportedly 42 pounds lighter, is joining Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs.
  • Colorado’s Jon Gray, MLB.com’s No. 4 right-handed pitching prospect, is determined.
  • Arizona’s Archie Bradley was named MLB.com’s top right-handed pitching prospect. Fellow D-backs prospect outfielder Keon Broxton is working hard in Australia.

- Cash Kruth

1/14 Hot Stove roundup

The Hot Stove was quiet on Tuesday, with the biggest news that 146 players filed for salary arbitration — a process that begins Friday when players and teams exchange numbers.

Among those who filed were a trio of aces: Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw, Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Tampa Bay’s David Price.

Here’s the full list of all 146.

While those 146 players likely will play in 2014, seven-time All-Star Michael Young might not as he is reportedly considering retirement.

There’s still no news regarding Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who has until Jan. 24 to sign. Sports on Earth’s Jonathan Bernhardt opines who needs Tanaka the most.

In the spirit of the upcoming NFL conference championship games, three of the quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs — Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady — were selected in the MLB Draft.

Other news and notes from around the league:

AL East

  • The Yankees officially signed second baseman Brian Roberts.
  • The Orioles signed pitcher Luis Vizcaino and infielder Brock Bond to Minor League contracts with invites to Spring Training.
  • Red Sox reporter Ian Browne answers questions in this inbox. Rays reporter Bill Chastain does the same here.
  • MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes that Baltimore’s playoff chances hinge on its defense.
  • Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins is working with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to improve his approach.

AL Central

  • Twins lefty Brian Duensing is ready to be a leader in the clubhouse.
  • White Sox reporter Scott Merkin fields questions in this inbox.
  • Detroit’s Robbie Ray is among the game’s best left-handed pitching prospects.

AL West

  • The Mariners have reportedly reached an agreement with catcher John Buck.
  • Former A’s left-hander Dallas Braden is retiring.
  • The Angels extended Spring Training invites to Mark Mulder and a host of prospects.
  • Seattle invited 15 prospects to Spring Training.
  • The Astros are moving signs in Minute Maid Park’s left field. 

NL East

NL Central

  • Top prospect Jameson Taillon is among four non-roster Spring Training invitees for the Pirates.
  • Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay is hosting a bowling tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.

NL West

  • The Padres and outfielder Seth Smith agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • Colorado’s Jordan Pacheco is excited to return to catching.
  • Dodgers second baseman Miguel Rojas has drawn comparisons to former Major Leaguer Omar Vizquel for his defense.
  • San Diego’s Max Fried was named the third-best left-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com.
  • The Padres announced their Minor League coaching staffs.

- Cash Kruth

 

1/13 Hot Stove roundup

Only a few Minor League deals were signed on Monday, a relatively quiet day on the Hot Stove.

Among those who found homes were veteran infielder Cesar Izturis, who signed with the Astros, and left-hander Jeff Francis, who signed with the Reds.

The White Sox and outfielder Dayan Viciedo also avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal.

One day after Alex Rodriguez’s suspension was reduced to 162 games, he sued Major League Baseball.

Other news and notes from Monday:

AL East

  • Baltimore is interested in outfielders Delmon Young and Jack Cust.
  • MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes that the Yankees need to land Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
  • Toronto’s Adam Lind tries to remain even keel.
  • Infield is a concern for the Yankees, writes Anthony Castrovince.
  • Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are among those rehabbing at the Orioles’ minicamp.
  • MLB.com ranked Boston’s Xander Bogaerts as the game’s best shortstop prospect.

 

AL Central

  • The Royals and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie restructured his contract to save the Royals $3 million in 2014.
  • Right-hander Rick Porcello should benefit from the Tigers’ improved infield defense.
  • Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is preparing for his new job as a Twins’ coach.
  • Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor is among the game’s top shortstop prospects.
  • Indians reporter Jordan Bastian answers questions in his inbox.
  • Former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is trying to get back into baseball.

AL West

  • The Angels are said to be among Tanaka’s favorites.
  • A’s reporter Jane Lee answers fans’ questions in this inbox.
  • The A’s named Steve Connelly pitching coach for their short-season Class A affiliate.

NL East

  • The Braves handed out 22 non-roster invites to Spring Training.
  • Miami’s young pitchers are getting ready for Spring Training.
  • Second baseman Chase Utley is upbeat about the Phillies’ chances this season.
  • Mets reporter Anthony DiComo fields questions in this inbox
  • Braves outfielder B.J. Upton is a big Florida State fan.

NL Central

  • Cubs prospect Javier Baez, ranked as MLB.com’s No. 2 shortstop prospect, is hoping to arrive in the Majors sooner rather than later.
  • Reds reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans’ question in this inbox.
  • The Brewers announced their Minor League coaching staffs. So did the Pirates.
  • The Cubs unveiled their new mascot, Clark. 

 

NL West

  • DJ LeMahieu studied hard to earn the Rockies’ second base job.
  • Giants prospect Derek Law could be a key member of San Francisco’s bullpen.

- Cash Kruth

 

1/11 roundup

The Hot Stove was quiet on Saturday as all eyes were focused on arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who ruled that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 2014 season.

Rodriguez initially received a 211-game suspension based on his connections with performance-enhancing drugs and the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida. Although his suspension was reduced, it is still the longest drug suspension and longest non-lifetime suspension in Major League Baseball history.

MLB released a statement, as did the Players Association.

MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes that Rodriguez is now a cautionary tale, while Mike Bauman opines that justice prevailed.

With the Rodriguez situation officially addressed, the Yankees now need to search for a replacement for the third baseman.

Other non-Rodriguez news and notes from Saturday:

  • Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is OK after undergoing an appendectomy late Friday night.
  • Outfielder Jason Bay is reportedly planning to retire.
  • One day after undergoing knee surgery that will keep him out until midseason, Rangers left-hander Derek Holland said he’s trying to stay positive, within this notebook.
  • Red Sox pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa is hoping for big things in 2014.

 

- Cash Kruth

1/10 roundup

The Hot Stove remained quiet on Friday, but one of Major League Baseball’s top teams received a huge blow to its 2014 outlook.

The Rangers will begin the season without left-hander Derek Holland, who underwent surgery on Friday to repair torn cartilage behind his left kneecap.

Holland, 27, sustained the injury during a fall at his home on Tuesday. He is expected to be out until midseason.

“I am devastated by this injury,” Holland said in a statement released by the team. “It was a freak accident at home, resulting in a hard fall on my knee. As upsetting as it is, my goal is to begin rehab and get back on the mound as soon as possible.”

Although no major deals have recently taken place, there are sure to be plenty of fireworks before teams report to Spring Training.

MLB.com’s Richard Justice gives insight on a few of the bigger offseason questions still remaining.

Other news and notes from Friday:

AL East

  • The Yankees designated outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment. New York also officially announced its two-year deal with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton.
  • Right-hander Jeff Niemann and outfielder Sam Fuld are both open to returning to Tampa Bay, as MLB.com’s Bill Chastain writes in this notebook.
  • Designated hitter remains a concern for the Orioles, who also signed infielder Alexi Casilla to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

AL Central

  • The Royals agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Brett Hayes to avoid arbitration.
  • Twins prospect Byron Buxton might be the game’s No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, but he knows he’s not ready for the bigs.
  • White Sox prospect Carlos Sanchez is impressing in the Venezuelan League.

AL West

  • The Mariners appear to be staying in house as they search for their next club president.
  • The Rangers are keeping close tabs on the Masahiro Tanaka situation.
  • The Angels are focused on improving their farm system.

NL East

  • The Nationals and right-hander Stephen Strasburg agreed to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration.
  • Top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are among 20 non-roster players the Mets have invited to Spring Training.
  • The Nationals signed outfielder Joseph Dunigan to a Minor League contract.
  • MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki fields Phillies fans’ questions in his inbox.
  • Two Phillies prospects — left-hander Adam Morgan and right-hander Shane Watson — are likely out until August because of injuries to their throwing shoulder.
  • Marlins manager Mike Redmond reminisces about his battles with new Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

NL Central

  • The Reds are keeping an eye on the utility infield market — specifically someone capable of backing up shortstop Zack Cozart.
  • The Cardinals are focused on their upcoming arbitration cases with outfielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos and infielder Daniel Descalso.

NL West

- Cash Kruth

1/9 roundup

Tanaka has landed.

Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka arrived in the U.S. on Thursday, the biggest news of an otherwise slow day on the Hot Stove.

Tanaka, 25, was scheduled to meet with as many as 12 Major League teams in Los Angeles before Friday. He is the most sought-after pitcher after going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year in Japan, and has until January 24 to reach a deal.

The Yankees are among the teams ready to make a pitch to Tanaka. The White Sox already did.

Other news and notes from Thursday:

  • Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander underwent abdominal surgery on Thursday to fix a preexisting injury he reaggravated during conditioning drills. He will be on the shelf for the next six weeks but should be fine for Opening Day.
  • Rays manager Joe Maddon isn’t worried about his club’s lack of a full-time designated hitter. Tampa Bay also inked infielder Jayson Nix to a Minor League deal and an invite to Spring Training.
  • The Angels are impressed with Mark Mulder’s retooled delivery.
  • News on the Mets’ first base and shortstop situations within this notebook.
  • Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said in a radio interview he thinks right-hander A.J. Burnett is going to retire.
  • Pittsburgh’s farm system was ranked No. 1 by Baseball America.
  • The Brewers continue to look for relievers.
  • Indians right-hander Vinnie Pestano is ready for 2014.
  • A’s right-hander Sonny Gray is looking forward to his first full big league season.
  • Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs is ready to join his new team.
  • Could Frank Thomas’ Hall of Fame election lead to enshrinement for former Mariners DH Edgar Martinez?
  • Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman hopes he can crack the rotation out of Spring Training.
  • The Padres will host a memorial service for Jerry Coleman on Jan. 18.
  • MLB.com’s Bill Ladson fields Nationals questions in his inbox.
  • Giants reporter Chris Haft does the same in his inbox for San Francisco fans.
  • The Tigers invited 16 to Spring Training, as did the Royals.
  • The Twins invited 23 to Spring Training, highlighted by top prospect Byron Buxton.
  • The Marlins signed six to Minor League deals and invited 16 others to Spring Training.
  • The Orioles announced their Minor League managers and coaches. So did the Astros and the Rangers.

- Cash Kruth

Twins “kicking tires” on Garza

The Twins are “kicking tires” on free-agent right-hander Matt Garza, according to Minnesota reporter Darren Wolfson on Twitter.

The 30-year-old Garza is one of the top free-agent starters remaining on the market — along with fellow righties Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana — but is the only one not tied to Draft pick compensation.

Garza began his career with the Twins after Minnesota took him No. 25 overall in the 2005 Draft but only pitched two seasons in the Twin Cities before being dealt to Tampa Bay.

He is 57-67 with a 3.84 ERA in eight seasons with the Twins, Rays, Cubs and Rangers.

- Cash Kruth

12/10 noon links: Morrison, Balfour, Trumbo

The rumors and speculation continue on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings. Here’s a few of the top stories from Tuesday morning at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.:

  • Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is drawing tons of interest, and it’s almost inevitable he’ll be dealt, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that Morrison might not be dealt during the Winter Meetings.
  • The Orioles are trying to get a deal done with closer Grant Balfour, tweets Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Our Brittany Ghiroli writes that no deal is on the table, though that could change quickly.
  • The Angels have been open to dealing Mark Trumbo this offseason, with the D-backs the most-talked about destination. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the White Sox have joined the conversation. In this scenario, the Angels would get pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago from Arizona and Chicago, respectively, the D-backs would get Trumbo and the Sox would receive D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton.
  • The Phillies are willing to talk about left-handers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
  • The Indians are willing to listen on right-hander Justin Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, tweets Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi. As Morosi notes in a later tweet, the Indians have young shortstop Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings.
  • Third baseman Juan Uribe is drawing interest from the Dodgers, White Sox and other teams, according to ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas, though MLB.com’s Scott Merkin doesn’t see Uribe as a fit.
  • The A’s may not trade left-hander Brett Anderson this week, according to Yanoo!’s Jeff Passan.

- Cash Kruth

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